28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (NASB)
For those who are nonplused at the utter foolishness running rampant throughout the visible church what you have to come to understand is that all of it is rooted in one thing, unbelief. Also, all of you reading this who have taken that stand for God’s truth knowing it would be costly and have then experienced oppression resulting in despair as you deal with others who either claim to be Christian, but prove they aren’t by their reprobate lifestyles or they claim to be superior in knowledge about nearly everything and so attack those who profess to be Christian in an attempt to disavow the gospel, the atonement, our desperate need for redemption, and that Jesus Christ came to fulfill that role. As we mature and become more knowledgeable about this warfare our reaction to all changes. Instead of despair or fear our reaction will be pity for those whom our enemy has assigned to attack us and our ministries. Be encouraged my brethren. Why? The attacks by the enemy are being allowed by our God for our own spiritual growth and for His glory and our enemy would not care anything about us if we were no threat to him.
Donald Trump & Paula White. Photo credit: Christian Today
The liberal Washington Post has an excellent piece by Michael Horton who is an author, speaker and J. Gresham Machen professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary. Dr. Horton expresses his concern that Donald Trump’s inauguration will help to mainstream the heretical Word of Faith (WOF) movement. He points out that “Trump has surrounded himself with cadre of prosperity evangelists who cheerfully attack basic Christian doctrines. The focus of this unity is a gospel that is about as diametrically opposed to the biblical one as you can imagine.” According to Dr. Horton, WOF is “another religion.” Clearly, WOF is not historic, orthodox biblical Christianity for the reason that in the Faith system man is glorified and the God of the Bible is humiliated.
Now listen as a Christian theologian examines WOF teaching and reveals the reasons evangelicals should be alarmed by the people President-elect Trump chose to pray during his inauguration. Dr. Horton writes:
Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration will include Paula White and possibly other members of his inner circle, Darrell Scott, “Apostle” Wayne T. Jackson and Mark Burns. They’re all televangelists who hail from the “prosperity gospel” camp. They advocate a brand of Pentecostal Christianity known as Word of Faith.
Inaugurations are always curious rituals of American civil religion. It would not be surprising to see a non-Christian religious leader participating. But what’s problematic for me as an evangelical is how Trump’s ceremony is helping to mainstream this heretical movement.
The prosperity gospel — the idea that God dispenses material wealth and health based on what we “decree” — is not just fluff. It’s also not just another branch of Pentecostalism, a tradition that emphasizes the continuation of the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues. It’s another religion.
Jeff Hagan of Pulpit & Pen has listed the ways the Holy Spirit does not lead the believer. For example, the Holy Spirit does not direct a person to sin. To “hear men in charismatic circles say that ‘God told’ them to divorce their wives and marry the woman they’ve been having an affair with” isn’t all that unusual for him. He admonishes: “That’s nothing but foolishness and selfishness. According to Scripture that is clearly sinful, it is wrong.”
So now to Hagan’s tips on how not to follow the Holy Spirit. He writes:
Do you ever wonder if maybe you made a mistake and missed out on a blessing because you resisted it thinking perhaps it was some kind of temptation from the enemy? At times, when we let our emotions get too involved in something, it makes it more difficult to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit — especially when we, in our flesh, don’t like the way He seems to be heading. Sometimes our flesh battles against God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:7). But when we surrender ourselves to God’s will, when we look to His Word and live accordingly, recognizing the Spirit’s lead becomes easier as we grow in Christ.
Now, with that being said, there are definitely some ways in which the Holy Spirit does not lead. False teaching, being ignorant of His ways, being spiritually lazy, and over-emphasizing the so-called “miraculous” have deceived many into being led to follow the world, or the flesh, or even the enemy while thinking it was the Holy Spirit. And, as one can imagine, this has brought about an incredible amount of pain and heartache into people’s lives. I have listed a few things to be cautious of, some ways the Holy Spirit does not lead us.
According to Deirdre Reilly of LifeZette, brick-and-mortar shopping may soon be a “remember when …?” proposition. She writes:
Moms and dads loyal to Macy’s are distressed over the news that the company has either closed or plans to close 68 of its retail stores. Shoppers now go online more often to buy goods for their families, and the shift has taken its toll.
The holiday numbers for Macy’s are reportedly a factor in the decision.
“I just love Macy’s and this makes me sad,” mother of three Kelly Driscoll of Reading, Massachusetts, told LifeZette. “I love browsing through their store, and they offer coupons and sales. You can get a real deal if you’re smart about when and what you buy.”
The decision to shutter the stores will affect some 6,200 jobs. “We continue to experience declining traffic in our stores where the majority of our business is still transacted,” Terry Lundgren, Macy’s CEO, said in a statement. As for the store closings, Lundgren noted, “We are closing locations that are unproductive or are no longer robust shopping destinations due to changes in the local retail shopping landscape … These are never easy decisions.”
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Matthew 7:21 (NASB)
There are many false teachings in our time within the visible Church. What we must never forget is that there is nothing new under the sun. The heresies we encounter now are actually very old. Some have been around a long time in their current form while others are recycled versions of an older heresy that was dealt with hundreds of years ago. Why should our enemy and his seed come up with new attacks when the old ones wreak havoc, deepen spiritual blindness, and keep people mired in man-made religiosity instead of becoming spirit-filled, obedient Christians?
Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pin reviews seeker-mergent guru Louie Giglio’s daily devotional that targets millennials. According to Ahlheim, Giglio often plucks verses out of context, “presumably because of their particular importance to the unidentified author and exposited in a Scripturally-illicit ‘what’s this verse mean to me’ sort of manner.” Pulling verses out of context and applying a meaning never intended by the author so that young adults will see themselves in the scriptural narrative only reinforces their view that the Bible really is all about them. And “Pastor” Giglio’s certainly aware of that! Learn more about this popular preacher buy following the links below.
Now to Bud Ahlheim’s review of “Simple Pursuit”:
Simple Pursuit is a daily devotional book that comes out of Louis Giglio’s Passion Movement. Merely containing an introduction by Giglio, with brief commentaries by “Christian celebrities” Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, and Matt Redman, the daily devotionals are written by 68 “Contributing Writers” drawn from the book’s target millennial audience of 18-25 year olds.
Following Giglio’s brief introduction, the book issues its “268 Declaration,” a five-pointed mission statement for the Passion Movement that is sourced in Isaiah 26:8. The crux of the statement is drawn from John Piper’s Christian Hedonism theme, “The heart of Passion is God’s glory, and God is most glorified in us when we live lives that are fully satisfied in Him.” The outlined five points of Passion are:
Louie Giglio is no hero to be admired by Ken Silva
See Berean Research’s White Paper on the Purpose Driven Church
1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 2 Timothy 3:1-8 (NASB)
Genuine Christianity is not a world religion. Instead, it is a fellowship of believers who have been justified by Faith. There are many professing Christians who would not fit that definition. They may be religious. They may have made a “profession of faith,” but they are not regenerate nor do they have The Holy Spirit. Why? They are not New Creations through the washing of Regeneration, which quickens believers from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13)
Saving Faith is not the result of Human Reason. It is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Knowing God and obeying God requires an active faith that is outside of Human Reason. Over the last several years I have debated some folks that were obviously very bright, but their arguments were based entirely within intellect and totally outside of faith. After a few rounds of back and forth responses it becomes very obvious that unless God opens their hearts to the truth they simply will not believe it. They will even say things like I and those who fight the fight along side me have no regard for the truth. How do we answer a charge like that when all we do is present the truth? They have their own understanding of the truth that they have formulated via Human Reason, which looks at Biblical Truth as nonsense because it makes demands that are outside of what they can understand or see as fair or right.
Jordan Standridge of The Cripplegate has posted Dr. MacArthur’s list. Number one on the list: Parents must teach their children to fear God so that they will fear sinning against Him. What many children don’t realize is that all sins committed against men are first and foremost done against a holy God. And because God is holy and just, sin must be punished.
According to Dr. MacArthur, there are nine more lessons we must teach our children that are found in Proverbs 1-10. Standridge writes:
Recently as I was reading John MacArthur’s book Brave Dad, I found a section in which He gives “Ten Crucial Lessons Every Father Should Teach”. Obviously, MacArthur is known for his expository, verse by verse teaching. But sitting under his preaching for almost ten years I always loved his “lists” many he came up with while sitting at a restaurant writing on napkins. Obviously, it wasn’t the bread and butter of his ministry, neither should it have been, but when you’ve preached through the whole New Testament and know the entire Bible so well, you are bound to see patterns in Scripture and are able to come up with lists like these.
1 The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” Psalm 110:1 (NASB)
15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:15-21 (NASB)
When I witness the bizarre conflicts in the visible Church in our time, especially the ones in which I take part, I never come through them without wondering how those whose faith is in their religion or idol can call Jesus Lord since they most definitely are not obeying Him nor submitting to His will as their Lord. If they did then two things would be true about them. They would teach sound (αντικειται) doctrine (διδασκαλια) from God’s Word and they would minister to His Church with love (αγαπην). Any other form of “ministry” will negatively impact the Body of Christ for it will come from motivations other than ministering unto the glory of God alone as a slave (δουλος) of his or her Lord (κυριος). These other motivations are actually service to another lord, either self or the enemy of our souls and are therefore the source of bad fruit.
Early in 2016, Michelle Lesley compiled a list of women teachers, speakers and authors that should be avoided like the plague. In October she added several women to the list (here). There’s no guessing necessary as to why Michelle doesn’t recommend certain high profile Christians because she includes examples of their flawed teaching; likewise, she names some of the wolves those on the list choose to partner with. Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Victoria Osteen and Christine Caine, to name a few. The Bible urges believers to do their homework (Acts 17:11) for the reason that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1).
Now take a look at Michelle’s list…
In this blog post over at Spirit of Error, Holly Pivec exposes the love fest between two NAR leaders. It’s clear that the duo hold each other in high regard by their on stage behavior at IHOP’s recent OneThing conference. Pivec writes:
Bill Johnson and Mike Bickle, OneThing conference. Photo credit: Spirit of Error
Anyone who has studied the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) knows how difficult it is to pin down. One reason it’s so hard to pin down the NAR is because it’s a movement. It’s not a formal organization or denomination–with an official list of beliefs, leaders or organizations. So you can’t simply go to a website and find an exhaustive list of NAR churches and teachers.
So how can you tell if a teacher is part of the NAR?
Check out Berean Research’s White Paper on the New Apostolic Reformation
1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:1-4 (NASB)
The Church since its inception in the 1st Century AD has been plagued by quarrels, disagreements, feuds, splits, et cetera. According to God, the problem is not with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or His doctrines, but with the fact that people in the Church are not submitted properly to Him or to each other. Pride is behind most disagreements just as it is behind those who break away from the truth to lead their followers with false doctrines and a focus that is on self rather than on God and His glory. Instead, those who cause these problems are in love with self and, therefore, in love with the world, its ways, and the things of the world.
The mother of Jesus was a sinner just like all human beings born into this world. Therefore she needed Jesus Christ as a Savior. The Bible says nothing about Mary ascending to heaven or having an exalted role there. Yet the pope of Rome urges Catholics to entrust her with the new year “so that peace and mercy may grow throughout the world.” We believe that the mother of Jesus should be held in high esteem, but she is not worthy of our worship or adoration. So with this in mind, following is Christian News Network’s report:
The leader of Roman Catholicism, Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” observed the feast of “the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God” on New Year’s Day, urging followers to “entrust the new year to Mary.”
“Let us entrust the new year to Mary, Mother of God, so that peace and mercy may grow throughout the world,” he Tweeted on Sunday, generating over 33,000 likes and 11,000 shares.
The feast “coincides with the octave-day of Christmas” on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and was initially the feast of the Circumcision of Christ until being replaced in 1974 by Pope John VI. The “mother of God” concept, however, can be traced back as early as the Council of Ephesus in 431.
See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism
James Varney of Real Clear Investigations addresses how attitudes are changing about global warming and all those scientists who dare question its validity. He writes:
In the world of climate science, the skeptics are coming in from the cold.
Researchers who see global warming as something less than a planet-ending calamity believe the incoming Trump administration may allow their views to be developed and heard. This didn’t happen under the Obama administration, which denied that a debate even existed. Now, some scientists say, a more inclusive approach – and the billions of federal dollars that might support it – could be in the offing.
“Here’s to hoping the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma, and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives in climate science and our policy options,” Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry wrote this month at her popular Climate Etc. blog.
William Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is similarly optimistic. “I think we’re making progress,” Happer said. “I see reassuring signs.”
ABC News posted this piece from Associated Press:
A federal judge in Texas on Saturday ordered a halt to another Obama administration effort to strengthen transgender rights, this time over health rules that social conservatives say could force doctors to violate their religious beliefs.
The latest injunction signed by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor comes four months after he blocked a higher-profile new set of transgender protections — a federal directive that required public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Several of the Republican-controlled states that brought that lawsuit, including Texas, also sued over the health regulations that were finalized in May.
19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB)
As many of you know, I took these last two weeks off in order to spend time with family and friends and that “taking time off” included staying out of theological discussion online as much as possible, etc. However, the last few days have been utterly amazing, at least to me. About 3 years ago or so I became part of a discussion group on Facebook in which I tagged team with some friends who stood up and defended the truths of Reformation Theology against those who hate it. It was not a pleasant experience and I soon tired of it and dropped out. Why? The moderator of the group allowed people in who were obviously abject heretics who had absolutely no ability to debate. After one really long ugly discussion with one fellow who finally called me some horrible names and went away, I was contacted by a pastor who ran a very well-known ministry who suggested that what we were doing was a total waste of time. Why? All we were doing was arguing with goats who had absolutely no inkling of God’s truth. No, they were spiritually dead people who believed they knew the truth better than we did because it was their own truth while all we had was that exegetical interpretation of the Scripture to go by. In any case, just yesterday I got drawn into a discussion with that very same fellow I mentioned above. Nothing has changed. He still won’t listen to the truth. He still has “his own truth,” which is found nowhere in scripture. At the same time, I started receiving email from a fellow who I had not heard from since August 2016. He is a Rick Warren fan and had been demanding from me a detailed explanation of why I have so many posts on my blog against the Purpose Driven Paradigm, Seeker Sensitive church models in general, and Rick Warren’s approach to ministry. I gave him a short history back in August and forgot about it. Yesterday right in middle of that little debate I got an email from him. He accused me of hypocrisy and picking on his favorite two pastors, Rick Warren and John Piper. He accused those of us who do discernment work of placing ourselves above them. I told him in a return email that none of what he was saying was true, I was not wasting any more time on him, and that I was sorry that he was blinded by his idols. I sent the email then blocked his email from by blog and my email provider.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB)
For what reason did the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ choose (elect) all in Christ before the foundation of world? It was that they would be holy (ἁγίους) and blameless (ἀμώμους) before him. The Puritans have always been accused of being legalistic and way too concerned about Christians living holy and blameless lives. I heard a Jeopardy clue once that actually defined this aspect of them as being “harsh” and “stern.” Perhaps the Puritans took things a bit too far becoming legalistic while forgetting that the believer’s justification is based on the righteousness of Christ not on any works done by them. Also, the Word is clear that in 1 Corinthians 1:2 that believers are also sanctified in Christ Jesus. These things being true, what does it mean for believers to become holy and blameless before our Lord Jesus Christ?
Museum of Idolatry’s blog features a few GIFS of silhouette go-go dancing that was performed on Christmas Eve at Pastor Andy Stanley’s church. Are these people attempting to mimic a red-light district, as MOI suggests? Clearly, people behind screens shaking their booties to a catchy tune about Santa Claus and Christmas cheer is not the proper theme for a Christmas Eve church service — and the stage act was not glorifying to God. MOI has the video.